Of Gertrude and the Llamas

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Since the divorce I’ve felt so much more alive. I’m not sure “alive” is any good thing, however, since so much of what I feel is sheer pain, and uncertainty, and groundlessness and fear. But it feels like art, somehow. My fingers channel ferocity when they beat the keys.

They do not, however, channel humor. These last ten years, I’d become a woman who can chuckle at herself, look askance at agonizing, give a great big “meh” to melodrama. Four decades on the planet seems enough to know we’re all just fucked, and who fucking cares anyway, as long as we lap up the good times while we can, and eat dim sum every chance we get. So why am I now thrown backward into angst, deadly seriousness, e-fucking-mergency all the time?

It wasn’t a place to which I wished to return. And yet… so seductive, that urgency, that tight-clawed fist that says, Goddamn you, life, why you gotta bring me to tears with your savor?

I’ve gotten caught up in all this retrogressive slaver, when forsooth it becomes me not, not anymore. I’m reminded of Hamlet’s words to his mother:

“You cannot call it love, for at your age

The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble,

And waits upon the judgment.”

At my age, indeed. What does it mean to be forty? What does it mean to be newly single when you thought you’d be a wife forever? Is life full of promise and sweet-tangy tastes still? Anew? Or is it best not to lose what staid sensibility I’d gained from matronhood? Is there a third thing, half wisdom/half recklessness, that waits beyond the corner of this wobbly period of adjustment?

I really wish I knew. I may no longer be placid, but I’ve not gained back my taste for unbridled adventure either. And the clock is ticking on those llamas.

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